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American Heart Association, Inc.

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Abstract/ Summary

We hypothesized that carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (PWV), a marker of arterial stiffness, interacts with age such that the magnitude of associations between PWV and cognitive performance are greater with increasing age and that this interaction is observed despite adjustments for demographic variables, mean arterial pressure, and cardiovascular risk factors. PWV was estimated using applanation tonometry in 409 dementia- and stroke-free participants of the Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study (24 to 92 years of age; 62.3% women). Using linear regression analyses in a cross-sectional design, associations between PWV and age and the interaction of PWV and age were examined in relation to a global composite score, the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale Similarities test (abstract reasoning), and 4 cognitive domains indexed by multiple cognitive measures. Adjusting for age, gender, education, height, weight, heart rate, mean arterial pressure, and antihypertensive treatment, PWV-by-age interactions were obtained for the global, visual-spatial organization and memory, scanning and tracking, and verbal episodic memory composites, as well as similarities. The combination of higher PWV and age resulted in progressively lower cognitive performance. This finding was the same with an extended model, which also included adjustment for cardiovascular risk factors and other confounds. PWV interacts with age in a multiplicative way to exert a negative influence on cognitive performance level. Early interventions to prevent an increase in arterial stiffness could possibly play an important role in the preservation of cognitive ability.

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© 2009 American Heart Association, Inc.




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